The recently catalogued JF 67 Kobai Caramel Color Border set of Yomiuri Giants includes a rookie card of Hawaiian Jun Hrota (right). This bust type portrait features a contemplative Hirota. The JF 67 set has been assigned a scarcity factor of R5 in the Japanese Baseball Card Checklist & Price Guide, Vintage Edition 2.1, signifying that five or fewer examples of this card are known.
Unlike most Kobai Caramel issues, JF 17 consists mostly of full body images. Thus, at left, we see one of the few full color action images of Jun Hirota ever printed on a baseball card.
Hirota actually might have beaten out Wally Yonamine for the honor of first postwar American star in Japan Pro Baseball. It was reported that he had signed with the Toei Flyers for the 1950 season, but for whatever reason, he ended up staying in Hawaii until 1952, leaving Yonamine to be the hero in 1951. Hirota ultimately spent five seasons behind the plate for the Yomiuri Giants (1952-1956). He got off to a great start in Japan, batting .277 in his rookie year. .
Size: 1 5/8" x 2 1/4"
Condition: JF 67--Good. JF 17--Fair due to two chips on the obverse, including one on the bill of Hirota's cap.